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Gifts for the Home Chef

The 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

I’m like the old lady who lived in a shoe, but instead of children my house is overflowing with cookbooks.  I need to share the love. New releases abound this time of year and cookbooks make a great gift, so here are my suggestions for you and yours.  I have focused on new releases but included a few favourites. Happy holidays!      


Best of Baking

You can’t go wrong with Dorie’s Cookies.  Dorie Greenspan’s new book contains over 300 recipes for cookies, bars and brownies from all over the world.  Some highlights – Salted Chocolate Caramel Bars, Mocha-Ricotta Puffs, Cocoa-Tahini Cookies with Sesame Crunch, Coconut Lime Sables, Salt and Pepper Sugar and Spice Galettes.     


For baking books with a specific focus, try Alternative Baker: Reinventing Desserts with Gluten Free Grains and Flours by Alanna Taylor-Tobin and Better Baking: Wholesome Ingredients, Delicious Desserts by Genevieve Ko.



Mozza at Home by Nancy Silverton and Carolynn Carreno is food I want to eat.  It was hard to pick a favourite menu, but how about Oven-Roasted Grouper with Spicy Tomato Marmalade and Tahini, Roasted Radishes and Turnips with Radish Sprouts and Dill, Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Cumin Vinaigrette and Blistered Green Beans with Yogurt Dressing?  Desserts look great too including “Brunettes”, a dark Blondie made with muscovado sugar and pine nuts, and Bittersweet Chocolate Tartufo with Olive Oil Croutons and Sea Salt.


Vegetable Power

2015’s Gjelina by Travis Lett is one of my favourite cookbooks, particularly for vegetables.  I also love The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini and use it often. Check out my reviews of these books at Tonic online.


Everyday Cooking 

Small Victories by Julia Turshen provides simple recipes geared to building a confident cook.  Every recipe has at least one useful cooking tip called a “small victory”.  Best Rice Pilaf with Roasted Red Cabbage is on my list to try.  


Food52 founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs have just released A New Way to Dinner. As the title suggests, this is a new way to approach the daily grind by tackling a week’s worth of foundation recipes over a few hours each weekend.  So Braised Fennel and Pan-Roasted Chicken are repurposed into Chicken Salad with Fennel and Smoked Almonds. Get it?  For the super organized or those who aspire to be. Interesting, family friendly recipes.       


Armchair Travelers

Hot new releases:

  • Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking
  • The London Cookbook: Recipes from the Restaurants, Cafes, and Hole-in-the-Wall Gems of a Modern City by Aleksandra Crapanzano
  • All Under Heaven:  Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China by Carolyn Phillips
  • Taste of Persia, A Cook’s Travels through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and Kurdistan by Naomi Duguid


For the Hollywood History Buff

For something a little different, LA’s Legendary Restaurants by George Geary provides a food tour through Hollywood from the 1920’s to the 1980’s, with vintage pictures, stories, menus and of course recipes.  Think Brown Derby and Trader Vic’s.